Christmas is over and now you have a giant tree sitting in your house taking up space. At some point between now and early January, it will be time to get that sucker packed up and out of your living room so you can return the sofa to its proper location. Here are some tips on doing just that.
Photo by Andrew Malone.
Pack Your Lights And Tinsel to Prevent Tangles
Every year you tell yourself you're going to pack the lights so they don't get tangled and every year, you forget to do it while you're rushing through getting the tree down. This year's different, right? Here are some clever ways to keep everything with a string on your tree from getting wrapped up in itself.
The lights: Curbly suggests taking a piece of cardboard and cutting two slits in it to wrap the lights through. It's a simple way to do it and gives you something to use all those gift boxes for. Alternately, if you're looking for a means to keep your lights tangle free and store the little bulbs, Real Simple offers the idea of wrapping the lights around a can or jar and store the bulbs inside. If you'd prefer just to wrap them, the best method is is to bunch the lights together then tie them off with the power cord.
Tinsel and other long decorations: If you happen to have some fancy tinsel and a large wreath, one of the easiest things to do with it is to wrap it around your wreath as storage. This way, you're making that large object do a little double duty work instead of just wasting a lot of space. If you don't have a wreath, you can wrap tinsel or other long decorations around a paper towel roll to keep it from getting tied up.
Photo by The Son of Groucho
Protect Ornaments Without Spending All Day Packing
Ornaments seem to typically fall into two categories: the fragile and sentimental, or the fragile and cheap. Either way, you want to pack them up in a fashion that doesn't see them ending up cracked in half next year.
Have a lot of tiny ornaments? Reddit user BuggieBee suggests using egg cartons to store them to keep them from getting crushed. If your ornaments are too big for a little egg carton, Martha Stewart recommends glueing paper cups to cardboard and making your own simple storage container. When you're finished, label them and pack them away.
If you don't want to make your own packaging, Real Simple recommends using packaging left over from bulk purchases. You can also use all that left-over wrapping paper trash to wrap them and throw them in any box you have lying around.
Clean And Dispose Of The Tree
Now that you have all the ornaments stored away, the lights are off and packed properly, and you've made sure there aren't any more gifts hiding away, it's time to get that tree out of there.
A real tree: Once Christmas is over, you're usually left with pine needles and tree sap everywhere. Stylelist suggests using a lint roller to pick up the needles after you've already swept or vacuumed up the larger pieces. For any sap that has inevitably collected on your floor, you can remove it from a wood floor with mineral spirits, try rubbing alcohol for carpet, and then use salt to get it off your hands.
For the tree itself, chances are your council offers a green waste collection option; if you can't break the tree down and fit it in your bin, wait until the next scheduled clean-up for larger items. (That said, a plastic tree you can use year after year is arguably a sounder choice.)
Artificial Trees: Artificial trees are supposed to be easier than real ones, but they're occasionally just as complicated to pack up properly. Helium user Lenna Gonya suggests wrapping like-style branches together with a rubber band to make it easy to put up next year. If you're feeling especially lazy, you can also follow eHow's advice and cover it in a plastic bag, decorations and all.
Have any useful tips for quickly packing up your Christmas tree? Share them in the comments.